Monday, November 06, 2006

rated pg-13

Needless to say, when I saw the trailor for this movie I was already in line mentally. You see, those of you who know me are fully aware of my fascination and admiration for Christian Bale. When you add to that my love for director Christopher Nolan ( Batman Begins, Memento, Insomnia) and my abiding adoration for Wolverine (aka Hugh Jackman-heh heh), it was inevitable that I be... well, let's just say excited.

It would have been next to impossible for me to be dissapointed in this movie. I knew that w/ Nolan at the healm and great actors like Michael Caine, Scarlett Johanson, and the two leads to help move the story along-the idea of failure was somewhat laughable. So, I'll just start by saying-yes, it's a great movie.

The story follows a troupe of magicians led by veteran magic-man, Cutter (played perfectly of course by the failsafe of english thespianism, Sir Michael Caine) ,putting on a show for the public that mainly involves slight of hand and escape arts. Two of the young magicians, Alfred Borden and Robert Angier, are especially intent on perfecting their trade. They both know that their current roles as audience 'plants' are only temporary and that their futures are respectively bright. The knowledge leads to tradgedy and a cut-throat rivalry that spans several years as the two men attempt to better each other and become the best at their trade. When Alfred puts an especially fascinating and jaw-dropping trick into his repetoir, Robert goes to obsessive lengths to accomplish it and ultimately find out Alfred's secret. The constant struggle between their professional and personal lives becomes especially evident during the great 'reveal' at the end of the picture.

The acting by both leads was brilliant, but my husband and I both agree that Bale held a slight upper hand. He really does a remarkable job slipping into his character and he never seems to be 'mugging' his way through the dramatic moments like so many other pretty actors we see. Jackman is also fantastic, playing the slightly more 'off-kilter' Angier, a man who is obsessed w/ perfection. He is more debonair than Borden and milks this for all its worth throughout the years of their competition. Scarlett Johansson is also extremely good, making the most of her corsets and cockney accent. Her character is flawed but very loveable always. Rebecca Hall also makes quite an impact as Borden's wife, Sarah.

The direction is incredible, of course. Nolan is a such a great example of a director that doesnt rely on visuals or storytelling alone, or even the strength of his actors. He is able to pull all elements into a harmonious mix that all others can envy. At first, I must admit I was a little confused by the use of flashbacks in the film since they seemed to be so sporadic initially. But then I realized that the multiple flashbacks were simply the pieces of an intricate puzzle and like in Memento, the pieces come together wonderfully during the last 20 minutes of the movie. After it was over, I immediately wanted to go back and watch again, just to see what I'd missed in the construction. It is a great feat in cerebral filmaking-with one heck of a pay-off.

I strongly recommend this movie. There is very little negative I can say. The pg-13 rating is warranted due to some cleavage and a couple of grisly visuals, I suppose but other than that, I found the movie to be wonderfully unoffensive. Enjoy!

My rating: 9/10 Abracadabra!


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